Lightning-Fast WordPress Performance at Scale: Three Success Stories

It started as a humble blogging platform. Over time, it attracted a community of open source developers that helped transform it into a versatile powerhouse of a CMS. Now, WordPress powers over a quarter of all the websites in the world.

What began as a boutique blogger’s tool is now fully capable of supporting enterprise level sites. That flexibility comes with a caveat, though: WordPress has to be properly configured, supported, and administered to reach its full potential. It takes technical savvy and the right partners to achieve optimum WordPress performance.

Pantheon helps organizations large and small get the most out of WordPress. To inspire your own performance-enhancing efforts, here are three of our favorite success stories.

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The New Statesman Weathers Massive Traffic Spikes

The New Statesman was founded as a print publication in 1912. For over a hundred years, the print publication and its online counterpart have provided trusted political commentary in the UK. In 2014, however, the site began experiencing regular performance issues. The New Statesman’s hosting provider simply couldn’t keep up with the site’s traffic load.

Worse, traffic was steadily rising as the UK prepared for a contentious national election. The site required constant attention and maintenance just to stay up—and that was before anticipated traffic spikes in the weeks leading up to election day.

Toby White, CTO of Progressive, the New Statesman’s parent company, searched for a new solution. He found many so-called “WordPress specialists” offered nothing more than blank server space. The New Statesmen needed a platform with performance built in, with support staff that had the expertise to keep the site live regardless of traffic.

With Pantheon, White found the partner the New Statesman needed. Pantheon migrated the WordPress site in just under three weeks, just in time for a massive upsurge in traffic around election day. With Pantheon powering the infrastructure, the main site and its associated microsites stayed up and fast through 10x traffic surges.

Read the full New Statesman Case Study.

SendGrid Improves Performance, Finds DevOps Peace of Mind

SendGrid is a cloud-based SaaS company that handles email services for some of the best and brightest companies in the world, sending over 30 billion emails per month to 1.7 billion unique email addresses.

As solid as their product offering was, however, SendGrid’s marketing website was slow and prone to downtime. The company owned their own server hardware, but it was nearing the end of its lifecycle, as was the site itself. The DevOps team had to micromanage the site’s development, which took them away from working on the actual product.

SendGrid decided to migrate the site to WordPress. They chose Pantheon for infrastructure that could take pressure off the DevOps team and provide better performance and reliability.

With the right infrastructure in place, the team immediately saw marked performance improvement. Pantheon’s Dev-Test-Live workflow makes it easier to deploy updates without worrying about bringing the site down.

“It was always a nerve-wracking experience to push ‘deploy’ on the command line in our previous environment,” SendGrid’s Nathan Jacobson said. “Now we know it’s not going to fail and it will replicate the experience we had in the test environment. That peace of mind is wonderful.”

Read the full SendGrid Case Study.

Mr. Money Mustache Scales up to 7 Million Monthly Pageviews

Software engineer Pete Adeney started the Mr. Money Mustache blog to chronicle the experiment in frugal living and savvy investing that enabled him to retire at the ripe old age of 30. As his site began to amass a following, then went viral, it became a struggle just to keep the site up. “After a while, I just gave up on posting new content because I knew it would cause a rush of traffic,” Adeney says. “The site would go down at least once a week.”

Fortunately for Adeney, Pantheon’s CEO Zack Rosen was a devoted Mr. Money Mustache fan. Rosen put Adeney in touch with the Pantheon technical support team. The team helped Adeney fix some common culprits that were blocking performance, such as memory-sucking plugins and errors in the site’s code. Then they migrated the site to Pantheon to make sure the infrastructure could handle increasing demand.

Now the site easily handles 1.5 million visitors per month, generating over 7 million monthly pageviews, up to 175,000 views in a single day. The site’s popularity continues to grow, and Adeney sees limitless potential: “I know that no matter how big the Mr. Money Mustache site grows, it’s still small potatoes compared to what it can grow into on Pantheon,” he says.

Read the full Mr. Money Mustache Case Study.

Infrastructure Is Half the Battle

There are plenty of ways to improve WordPress speed, from smarter coding to auditing plugins to optimizing configurations. Each of these pieces of the puzzle are important, but finding the right hosting platform is the only way to complete the picture. Your WordPress host should be designed for peak performance, with capacity management built in, supported by a knowledgeable development team.

Learn more about WordPress performance on Pantheon, or create a free account and give us a test drive.


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Topics WordPress Hosting, Website Technology, Growth & Scale, Speed & Performance, WordPress

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